New Journey to the West: Episodes 6-10
javabeans: We resume with the race to win monk rights (and zapper possession), and now I’m laughing that we made fun of Ji-won last week for being the dummy (insisting that higher altitude resulted in higher temperatures because of sun proximity), because now Seung-gi looks around and marvels at how much this area has advanced. Ji-won: “Did you know what it was like before?” Seung-gi: “Nope.” Ji-won: “Then how do you know if it advanced? What if it was just like this the whole time?” Seung-gi: “Just by looking you can tell, it’s recently advanced.”
girlfriday: It’s so like Ji-won to just pick a fight about it, and even though Seung-gi said the dumb thing, Ji-won sounds dumber in the end by arguing that this town could’ve ALWAYS and FOREVER been this developed. Ho-dong spends the bus ride bugging the passengers across the row with his elementary Chinese, mostly I think just to practice the five phrases that he learned.
javabeans: That lady is super patient, given how many times he interrupts to ask her random questions, like what her name is or how long the bus ride is.
girlfriday: Seung-gi and Ji-won arrive in town first, and now they have to take a taxi within the city. Seung-gi does a decent job of asking for directions, while Ho-dong and Su-geun encounter a nice group of women who work at a hotel, but fumble to understand their very clear directions. Ho-dong keeps asking how much it’ll cost to take a taxi, but no matter how many times the woman answers, “Fifteen. FIFTEEN,” he’s all, “Fifty??”
javabeans: I just think it’s cute how he’s trying to figure out his transportation problem, and meanwhile the group of employees just rotate turns behind them, taking photos with Ho-dong. He pauses to smile and flash the V sign in the photos, but it’s hilarious that he’s hardly there and the ladies are just rotating.
girlfriday: Ha, once they finally understand how much it’ll cost for the cab fare (by the woman physically holding up one of their bills), Ho-dong decides they have money to eat. Some things never change.
javabeans: They try to eat these really hot buns, and I swear, they both look like monkeys trying to eat it while it’s scorching.
girlfriday: Seung-gi and Ji-won catch a cab, and then a few minutes later, Ho-dong and Su-geun show up at exactly the same taxi line, with the same ajusshi who gave Seung-gi directions. He actually tells them that their monk went on ahead of them, not that they understand.
javabeans: It occurs to me that Ho-dong and Su-geun often get sidetracked by stopping for irrelevant conversation, since they’re so proud to be able to explain they’re doing this Journey to the West thing but totally miss all the helpful transit advice being given.
girlfriday: This is why they’re Team No-Brain. They end up taking a motorcycle cab, why I don’t know, since they can clearly afford a taxi.
javabeans: THEY don’t know they can afford a taxi. I love the irony of the taxi driver complimenting Ho-dong’s Chinese, and his answer being, “Huh?”
girlfriday: Meanwhile, Seung-gi and Ji-won get dropped off right in front of their guesthouse, easy peasy. Staff members are standing at the entrance holding up a finish line ribbon, and Ji-won lets Seung-gi win monk rights, as promised. Na PD gives Seung-gi the Show Me the Money bank card with all their travel money on it, as well as the zapper.
javabeans: Ji-won suggests being allowed to hold that one, and Seung-gi agrees, saying, “Well, since the monk is so busy…” HA. And then he asks if he can stick the zap-pad anywhere on the loser’s body, and we have to cut away to another tranquil insert from Three Meals a Day because he’s clearly being inappropriate.
girlfriday: The captions over the puppies: “No, you can’t… not there…” So he tries sticking it on his back just to feel what it’s like, and jumps from the jolt of electricity.
javabeans: It’s extra-hilarious in slow-motion. Then he has Seung-gi try it, and they both have the same extreme reaction. Which they love, of course, since the more painful it is now, the more painful it’ll be later to whomever they’re torturing.
girlfriday: They ask Na PD to give them the thermal long underwear in advance, and Ji-won hangs it out in the sunlight so that it traps in more heat. Evil.
javabeans: Ho-dong and Su-geun arrive at their lodgings, pretty confident that they moved pretty swiftly and won’t be behind the other team, conveniently forgetting the part where they stopped for snacks. They’re in great spirits, greeting the staff enthusiastically, and then Seung-gi ambles ever so casually over and calls to them. Hee.
girlfriday: Ji-won hands Ho-dong his long underwear in glee. We cut to a scene of the four guys talking over drinks later at night, and Ho-dong asks how Ji-won and Seung-gi ended up partnering so fast to win the monk race. Seung-gi reveals that Ji-won pulled him aside back at Incheon Airport before they even got on the plane, pretending to point out some pretty girls. Instead he masterminded their partnership from the start.
javabeans: That’s why he says Ji-won had the long game in mind, already anticipating the game while the others were patiently waiting for the game to start. I love that Ji-won is the mastermind who takes the No. 2 spot, because isn’t that where all the real crafty masterminds are? Merlin, Iago, Rasputin…
girlfriday: Na PD suggests that they send one member out to pick up hamburgers for lunch, and Seung-gi orders Ho-dong to do it. Hee. Immediately Ho-dong starts getting all whiny and throwing a tantrum about how he already has to suffer the long-underwear punishment.
javabeans: He totally drags his feet, resisting everyone’s suggestions to get it over with, getting peevish about how his head aches.
girlfriday: He even tries to order Seung-gi to go instead, thinking that raising his voice to the maknae will work. Seung-gi just pulls monk-rank on him and suggests that he wear the zapper for a while, and Ho-dong very quickly gets up to go fetch lunch.
javabeans: This isn’t the same old 1N2D anymore! Seung-gi’s not just the baby! He will call your bluff! Ho-dong tries to lie that he doesn’t have to wear his long underwear until after lunch, but Ji-won isn’t having that and makes him change.
girlfriday: He finally puts it on, and complains that the pants are too tight. Oh no, don’t show us that! We believe you!
javabeans: The show calls it a ballet dancer look, but I’m thinking more monkey. In any case, Ho-dong fiiiiiiinally leaves to get lunch, not for lack of trying to get the others to accompany him, and wanders around looking for a hamburger joint.
girlfriday: It’s strange then that he ends up at Subway (does he not know they don’t have burgers there?).
javabeans: I think he was unwilling to try harder to find actual burgers, and figured sandwiches were close enough.
girlfriday: It’s soooooo frustrating to watch Ho-dong struggle this much to order four sandwiches. Is it his first time doing this, EVER?
javabeans: But I suppose it makes it feel like a real punishment for losing the race, since it wouldn’t be as much fun if those games didn’t have stakes. Will he try harder to win now?
girlfriday: The guys happily eat, and Su-geun asks Ho-dong how many times he’s run an errand before in his lifetime. I’m thinking not many.
girlfriday: It’s time for Su-geun’s punishment as well, and the guys strap on the electrical zapper thingy to his back. He complains about Seung-gi passing the remote control over to Ji-won, which I agree is anyone’s worst nightmare.
javabeans: Hee hee, Ji-won runs around the room giggling while pushing the buzzer, and Su-geun tries to chase him while fielding shocks. He asks Ji-won (begs, more like) to only shock him when he’s done something bad, and not to shock indiscriminately. I think we all know Ji-won too well for that.
girlfriday: But as soon as Su-geun says this, he farts and gets punished for it anyway.
javabeans: Even when they’re all resting, you see Ji-won slyly reach for the buzzer, and Su-geun immediately starts pleading, “Don’t do it, please don’t—augh!!” Then there’s this long, loooong segment where the boys play around with ways to chant their character name, proving that basically, boys stay five forever.
girlfriday: Na PD stands in the doorway watching them silently (and creepily, the captions point out), and it’s written all over his face that this is unamusing to him. He tells them they don’t need to bother with character chants, and the captions read, “This is when the thought first occurred to Na PD… that we’re ruined…”
javabeans: It’s totally unfunny to me too, the actual activity of figuring out a chant, but to me the humor is in the editing where you just see the various attempts overlapped on top of each other as Ho-dong wears himself down with all these crazy chants until he’s a heap on the floor.
girlfriday: They head out to wander the city a little before dinner, and Ho-dong continues to embarrass the boys by doing versions of his cheer while walking down the street.
javabeans: I’m so embarrassed for him, though he says cheerily that he’s not embarrassed. Seung-gi notes that they are, and how it’s backfiring on them.
girlfriday: Seung-gi says it’s a good thing they’re in China, but Ji-won argues that it would be less embarrassing in Korea. I agree with Ji-won. At least in Korea people would know that you’re not a random group of crazy people.
girlfriday: Na PD takes them to a really fancy restaurant for dinner, which I find suspicious.
javabeans: He announces that they’ll begin the first round of the game now as they eat, where they’ll have to find their first dragon ball. Is it nice of him to soften the blow of the challenge by giving them a nice meal, or is it mean that he’d give a nice meal and then ruin even that with more tasks?
girlfriday: It remains to be seen whether they’ll get to eat anything here, just sayin’.
javabeans: HOLY CRAP it’s the opposite! Na PD says their only goal is to eat this specific mushroom-beef dish, and once they do, they get to leave. It sounds easy and delicious… until he gives them a menu containing 100 dishes, written entirely in Chinese. They have to eat their way through it until they find that one entree???
girlfriday: Omg. Delicious and painful!
javabeans: Na PD can ruin even the most wonderful gift.
girlfriday: They get all into the menu-picking, with various theories about the number of characters in the name to the price, but really it’s just a random 1 in 100 shot in the dark, right?
javabeans: This feels suspiciously similar to gambling.
girlfriday: Ah, Seung-gi is reliably more informed than the rest of them, and can at least pick out a few characters that matter, like “meat” or “sauteed,” and finds a dish he wants to try. But… then the dish comes out and it’s totally not even close.
javabeans: They have to eat it all before Na PD will let them order another dish, so even though it’s really salty, they have to choke it down. They order rice to make it more palatable, but do you really want to be filling up on that? Na PD pops in to demand, “You have to eat everything you order!”
girlfriday: Seung-gi picks the next dish to order, and ha, this time it’s fish.
javabeans: Ha, I enjoy the report card each dish receives. One score is for taste, and the other is for how close they were to the goal. This one gets an A- and an F. It’s hilarious how he’s somewhat close (in that he uses facts and knowledge to aid his choices), but so, SO far (in that they’re all wrong). But I suppose without Seung-gi around, they’d just be twirling a finger and eating tons of dishes randomly, so….
girlfriday: Which is what they do for the third round, because they’ve been burned by Seung-gi’s choices. Su-geun and Ho-dong just pick one at random, and get all excited when a big pot arrives… But inside is a chicken. Wah waaaah.
javabeans: Immediately they go from excited to “How are we going to eat all thaaaaat?” Also, I wish we had a camera on the crew right now.
girlfriday: At least Na PD pops in to check each dish and lord his victory over them for each round. Seung-gi decides that they have to choose something with the character for “cow” in it, which seems logical. There are eight choices, which is a lot, but then, it’s fewer than 100.
javabeans: They eat their way through the next few wrong choices, just going down the list, their faces growing darker and darker. Finally the right dish comes out, and they leap to their feet cheering.
girlfriday: It’s a happy moment for them, but Na PD gets all sad, and the music turns sad to match his mood.
javabeans: I don’t know what he was expecting — actual burst stomachs? They did have to eat a ton of food.
girlfriday: He wanted more pain, I’m sure. And more of them forcing each other to finish off the dishes. I think they would’ve need to go a few more rounds before the rock-paper-scissors to punish each other with food.
javabeans: Na PD awards them the first dragon ball, then jumps right into Round 2, which starts with only Monk Seung-gi being able to speak. He has to pick one teammate to hit the dragon ball with their foot five times in a row (like hackey sack, but with the round ball). Isn’t Su-geun the hackey sack master?
girlfriday: He is, which is why Seung-gi doesn’t hesitate to take the gamble. Cut to: Su-geun playing hackey sack with their dragon ball… One… two… three.. four… then ack, he fumbles on the fifth!
javabeans: Immediately, Ji-won grabs the zapper buzzer.
girlfriday: They turn it into this whole public service announcement on why gambling is bad, and flash the helpline to call if you’re addicted to gambling. LOL.
javabeans: That’s pretty ballsy. Haha.
girlfriday: The guys return to the room and relax with a few beers as they wind down, and then they settle into bed for the night. Funny how the two youngest guys get the beds and the hyungs have to sleep on the floor, but that’s the monk hierarchy.
javabeans: Heh, not that it does much good when Ho-dong and Su-geun both start snoring and Seung-gi can’t fall asleep. He tries to snap his fingers, but it does nothing, and then you see that both Seung-gi and Ji-won are awake because of the snoring.
girlfriday: In the morning, Seung-gi’s the first one up, and the captions note that this hasn’t changed in five years. Ironically, the first thing Ho-dong does when he stirs awake is complain about Su-geun’s snoring.
javabeans: They take their time waking up and get ready, and Ji-won of course notices that Su-geun has taken off his zapper and is quick to get that business fixed right away.
girlfriday: It kind of just ends like that.
javabeans: Yeah, it’s strangely abrupt and low-ley. The preview tells us that next episode, they go eat breakfast! Um, big whoop?
girlfriday: I guess this is the downside of doing the show as internet clips. It lacks the narrative flow of a single episode of television, though I guess if you’re the editor, it can be freeing to be random and amusing without the same constraints.